Green Day: 1950s Campus Ads For The Fighting Irish


In honor of St. Patrick’s Day we pay tribute to the Irish — specifically the Fighting Irish of the University Of Notre Dame. After a long and fruitless search for vintage images, I finally found a few in the campus magazine called The Scholastic, where there were some ads for Arrow buttondowns, “natural” tuxedo rentals (with natural in quotation marks), cigarettes and No-Doz. Some of the clothing was very Main Street, with one ad imploring students at the Indiana school to take Pat Boone as their style icon. The ads above and below for the campus shop Gilbert’s are from the 1954-55 school year:



Five years later the store’s logo had changed, along with the illustration style. The focus, however, was still on correctness and value:


Ads running right before summer advocated not only value, but suitable attire for the summer, which meant not shorts and flip-flops, but jacket and trousers with maximum versatility. As we never tire of saying around here, how times have changed. — CC



10 Comments on "Green Day: 1950s Campus Ads For The Fighting Irish"

  1. I thought “how hard can it be to find vintage images of Notre Dame?” – but yeah, the people who come up in image searches tend to be wearing either football uniforms, or priestly garb.

  2. Exactly.

  3. James Redhouse | March 17, 2015 at 11:35 pm |

    The Arrow Dover (in the top ad) was the OCBD shirt that many college men actually wore back in the day.

    Through the 50s (at $3.95) and 60s (at $4.50), the same shirt was also know as the Arrow Gordon Dover and the Arrow Gordon Dover Club.

    It is still available:

  4. Interesting ads. A veneer of polish and sophistication (not to mention prices) long gone from most university campuses and society in general. Sigh.

  5. Charlottesville | March 17, 2021 at 3:07 pm |

    Was a button-down club collar ever an option in the mainline Ivy universe (i.e., Brooks, Press, Chipp, etc.). Obviously, it would not have a roll or need buttons to keep it from flying up in one’s face, so it seems odd. However, I suppose the line around the tie is not much different from the pinned club collar, and that was certainly a heyday Ivy mainstay.

    At any rate, Happy St. Patrick’s Day to one and all from a non-Irishman clad in a green tweed sack coat from J. Press.

  6. I suddenly have an intense need to see the Pat Boone ad.

  7. Like Charlottesville, I wonder about the “rounded button-down,” as it’s called here. This is only the second time I can remember seeing it, the first being in a picture of Nat King Cole:
    Charlottesville speculates that the buttons may achieve an effect similar to the pinned club collar, but, at least from the picture of Cole, it appears to lack the tension and consequent definition necessary. And, as he points out, it wouldn’t have a roll, so the inclusion of buttons ends up being rather redundant, in my estimation. I think I would prefer a plain club collar, myself.

    This reminds me of an ad shared somewhere on here where a flat, roll-less button down collar is touted as “Ivy correct,” or something to that effect. A lesson could probably be extracted about being critical of advertising, I suppose.

    Happy St. Patrick’s Day to everyone! May it be happy and blessed.

  8. All of your posts this past week, especially the March 10 edition, have been great. Where’s St. Patrick when you need him?

  9. Charlottesville | March 18, 2021 at 3:15 pm |

    Maxim – Thanks for the Nat Cole pick. He is a favorite (my wife and I were just listening to his trio’s instrumental recordings last night), but I had never seen that photo.

  10. Charlottesville, I must thank you for the idea, as that inspired me last Sunday to play my own, sole Nat King Cole record. It was honey to the bitter herbs of the book I had to read that day, as well as a nice (and appropriate) addition to my first day wearing my Harris Tweed sack jacket. Many thanks!

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